17.10.12

Bishop condemns the shooting of Malala Yousafzai

The Bishop of Pontefract who chairs the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pakistan Focus Group has condemned the Taliban’s shooting of the teenage girl who dared to campaign for girls to be educated and is calling on the UK to sign a petition for her support

The Rt Revd Tony Robinson is urging people to sign a petition organised by the 'HOPE not hate' organisation to send best wishes for a speedy recovery to Malala Yousafzai.

Bishop Tony said: “This brave 14-year-old from Pakistan is fighting for her life after being shot in the head by the Taliban. She should be our symbol of resistance to hatred and I urge you to support the petition to send a Get Well book with our messages of support both to the Hospital where she is being treated and to the Pakistan High Commission.

“This attempted assassination highlights the worldwide struggle between HOPE and hate - from the persecution and harassment of minorities in the UK to the killing fields of East Africa and the religious extremists who are trying to impose their worldview on believers and non-believers alike – there is just too much hate in this world.

“Let us show those who committed this killing - and those who approve of it - that this sort of behaviour is totally unacceptable,” he said.

Malala Yousafzai was airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on Monday night for specialist treatment after she was shot in the head by Taliban gunman for her campaign for girls’ education.

The Taliban has threatened to target her again after they boarded the van in which she was travelling asked her name and then fired three shots at her almost a week ago as she  returned home from school in Mingora in the Swat Valley.

Malala has become widely known as a campaigner for girls' education in Pakistan since she was 11 and wrote a diary for BBC Urdu about life under the Taliban, when they banned all girls from attending school.

The shooting has shocked Pakistan with tens of thousands taking to the streets to condemn it and support her calls for greater rights for girls and women.  Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari described it as an attack on "all civilised people".

Bishop Tony works very closely with people of other faiths in West Yorkshire to help build more united communities and last year secured Government funding to bring three imams, three priests, three lawyers and three police officers from the Pakistan town of Gojra where nine Christians were burned to death in their own homes by Muslims in 2009 - over to Britain to help build relationships, share good practice and heal rifts.

Sign the petition to wish Malala a speedy recovery at http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/ malala-yousafzai

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has also expressed his shock and sadness at the violent attack on Malala Yousafzai and two other school girls in Pakistan. Click here to read his statement in full.

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